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Funerals of murdered Carndonagh couple

couple cuddihy (1)
BY C.J.MCGINLEY

CARNDONAGH will come to a standstill this morning (Tuesday) for the funerals of the retired couple found brutally murdered at their home on Thursday.

Hundreds are expected to attend the joint funerals and pay their final respects to James (77) and Kathleen Cuddihy (73) from Churchtown, Carndonagh who have been described as loving and’wonderful parents.

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The tight knit community in Carndonagh will also be offering their support to the family of the slain couple. A 42-year-old son of the couple, Julian, has been charged with the double murders of his parents.

The joint funeral mass will be at 11am in the Church of the Sacred Heart.

The remains of both James and Kathleen left the Eternal Light Chapel of Rest, Carnamuggagh, Letterkenny at 6pm on Sunday

The removal was strictly for family and friends only at the expressed wishes of the Cuddihy family who are struggling to come to terms with the violent deaths of their parents.

Two hearses carrying the couple were parked side-by-side outside the chapel.

Among the other members of the public to attend were staff from Carndonagh Community School where Jimmy was a former teacher as well as medical personnel who worked with former nurse Kathleen.

After a 20 minute ceremony, the couple were then taken on the hour long journey to the home of their son James in Carndonagh.The wake house is adjacent to the family home where the tragedy unfolded.

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James, was a retired teacher while Kathleen had been a well known local
nurse-paramedic. Their violent deaths has sent shockwaves all over the country.

A brief statement was issued on Sunday evening by gardai on behalf of the Cuddihy Family.

“The family thank An Garda Síochána, medical and other personnel, neighbours, friends and the local community for their support and sensitivity at this most difficult time,” it read

“They ask that they, their extended family and the local community be allowed to observe local traditions without media intrusion to enable them to honour Jimmy and Kathleen with dignity in the coming days.

“The family will not be releasing any further statement at this time,” the statement added.

The remains were released by gardai from the morgue at Letterkenny General on Sunday evening following detailed forensic examinations by the State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy and after thorough investigations at the dead couple’s home by officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

A 42-year-old son of the couple has been charged with the double murders of his parents.

Julian Cuddihy was charged before a special sitting of Ballyshannon District Court on Friday night .

He was remanded in custody and Judge Kevin Kilraine directed that the prison authorities have him undergo a psychiatric assessment as soon as is practicable. I(see page 3)

The couple were highly respected in the locality and news of the grim discovery of their bodies at their bungalow on the ‘Mountain Road’ has sent shockwaves all over the country.

They have been described locally as ‘wonderful parents’ and great community people. They had four grown up children, sons James and Julian and daughters, Maureen and Delilah. The latter is a Deputy Principal at the local St Patrick’s Girls National School.

A hatchet found at the house is part of the investigation.

On Friday morning gardai issued an appeal for information about the movement’s of the family car, a Silver Skoda Octavia, between 4pm on Wednesday and 9.30am on Thursday.

Julian Cuddihy was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act at Mindoran near Clonmany, an area of Donegal within a few minutes’ drive of the crime scene not along after the bodies were found.

The family car (reg 10 DL 274) was also found at Mindoran,

The grim discovery of the bodies was made at about 9m on Thursday by the murdered couple’s son James and a local builder, Paddy Nelson, who had been carrying out work at the property. Mr Nelson was captain of the local GAA team last year.

James Cuddihy has an engineering works-workshop at the rear of the family home. His suspicions were raised when he didn’t notice any sign of his parents.

Along with the builder they made a forced entry to the house where they found the bodies. The couple’s daughter Delilah arrived at the scene shortly after.

Mr Cuddihy was a native of south Co Kilkenny but came to Carndonagh to teach in the 60s, where he also married and the couple reared their family. He is a former captain and President of Ballyliffin Golf Club.

He taught maths and metalwork at Carndonagh Community School and formerly the old ‘tech’ in the town where he came in the 60′s and later met his wife. Mr Cuddihy, gave grinds to local pupils for their Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations.

Kathleen, was also well known in the locality as a local nurse-paramedic. She worked voluntary for the local hospital and ambulance service and raised money for various charities such as the ‘Good n New’ cancer service.

Locals said Kathleen was your typical Irish mother who worked tirelessly for all of her children. They are all very well educated.

Jimmy, loved music and was a good fiddle player.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy arrived at the house in the on Thursday night and after preliminary investigations the bodies were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital. The house was cordoned off until the forensic investigations were completed.

The large, well-kept bungalow was sealed off after the incident. Floral tributes were left at the driveway to the property.
Kathleen Cuddihy’s father was a former county councillor from Malin- Mickey Deery.

A sister, Carmel from Letterkenny, is married to well known retired Garda Barney O’Reilly.

Psychologists were brought in to support staff and pupils at a primary school where Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy’s daughter teaches.

The couple’s daughter Delilah, a popular staff member at the 14-teacher national school, had arrived for work as normal shortly before 9am on Thursday.

However, she was abruptly called away just minutes later as news of the shocking deaths of her beloved parents reached her.
Psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) travelled from Letterkenny to meet with her colleagues.

Ms Cuddihy’s fellow teachers were said to be “badly shocked”.

The NEPS psychologists provided counselling to staff and prepared them for questions that will inevitably come from their young pupils, particularly those taught by Ms Cuddihy.

During major incidents NEPS psychologists assist schools in preparing a critical-incident management plan.

A NEPS spokesperson said: “Staff members will then know what to do when something occurs that upsets the normal running of the school. Individual members will take on different roles in managing the school’s response.

“The school authorities have been in touch with NEPS in relation to this particular tragedy and NEPS psychologists are providing assistance to the school community in this matter.”

The school cancelled its annual Halloween party.

Mr Albert Doherty is a next door neighbour and family friend. He is also a well known local councillor and like so many others is totally shocked by the incident. Julian Cuddihy was a former pupil of his at St Patrick’s Boys School in Carndonagh.

Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday (Sunday) Mr Doherty appealed to the HSE to provide urgent bereavement counselling to family, friends and the wider community following the tragedy- similar to that provided by NEPs.

“The town is still numb with grief and people are struggling to come to terms with this tragedy,” he said

“There is utter disbelief, but we’re all heartened by the great support for the family in the wider community. Notwithstanding this, I’d appeal to the HSE, to bring all the resources it can to the area to help people deal with the grief they’re feeling,”

“This puts the world into perspective,” he said.

“I’ve lived next door to the couple for years. I’m shocked what has happened. They were lovely people, well respected and admired in our community,” he said.

Mr Doherty, Principal of St Patrick’s Boys School in Carndonagh, was at a meeting in Letterkenny early on Thursday morning when he got the word of the tragedy.

“It was just so hard to believe,” he said.

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